E-Moderating

E-Moderating

Gilly Salmon (University of Leicester, UK)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 8
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-198-8.ch125
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Abstract

In this article, the term “e-moderating” is used to capture the wide variety of roles and skills that the online teacher, lecturer, or trainer needs to acquire (Salmon, 2004). Online human supporters have a wider range of expertise compared to working with face-to-face learning groups. The role of the lecturer or teacher in all educational contexts needs to change to include e-moderating to realize the development and potential of new online environments, and to create e-learning rather than e-publishing of materials. Successful and productive e-moderating is a key feature of positive, scalable, and affordable e-learning projects and processes. Regardless of the sophistication of the technology, online learners do not wish to do without their human supporters. Most learners also mention the fun and companionship of working and learning together. Many lecturers naturally believe that learning to e-moderate has to do mostly with learning new software or computing skills (Barker, 2002; Bennett & Marsh, 2002). This is not the case. The revision of their roles needs to happen regardless of changes in technological applications. A critically important role for the emoderator is promoting the surfacing and sharing of understanding and knowledge through online writing and dialogue (Bygholm, 2002).
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Introduction To Online Teaching

In this article, the term “e-moderating” is used to capture the wide variety of roles and skills that the online teacher, lecturer, or trainer needs to acquire (Salmon, 2004). Online human supporters have a wider range of expertise compared to working with face-to-face learning groups. The role of the lecturer or teacher in all educational contexts needs to change to include e-moderating to realize the development and potential of new online environments, and to create e-learning rather than e-publishing of materials.

Successful and productive e-moderating is a key feature of positive, scalable, and affordable e-learning projects and processes. Regardless of the sophistication of the technology, online learners do not wish to do without their human supporters. Most learners also mention the fun and companionship of working and learning together.

Many lecturers naturally believe that learning to e-moderate has to do mostly with learning new software or computing skills (Barker, 2002; Bennett & Marsh, 2002). This is not the case. The revision of their roles needs to happen regardless of changes in technological applications. A critically important role for the e-moderator is promoting the surfacing and sharing of understanding and knowledge through online writing and dialogue (Bygholm, 2002).

COMPETENCIES AND SKILLS FOR E-MODERATORS

The qualities and characteristics of successful e-moderators—the competencies they should acquire through training and experience—have been analyzed by the author (Salmon, 2002), and are presented in Figures 1 and 2.

Figure 1.

Table of e-moderator competencies

Figure 2.

Table of e-moderator competencies (continued)

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Recruiting Your E-Moderators

If possible, e-moderators with the qualities from Columns I and II of Figure 1 should be recruited. Teachers who have something of a vision of the importance of online learning in the future and how to prepare themselves to operate successfully and happy within such an environment are those to be spotted and supported (Waeytens, Lens, & Vandenberghe, 2002). The author tends to select applicants who show empathy and flexibility in working online, plus willingness to be trained as e-moderators. Before asking candidates to work online, they should be trained in the competencies described in Columns III and IV in Figure 1. After working online with their participants for about one year, e-moderators should have developed the skills in Columns V and VI of Figure 1.

If lecturers are used to being considered an “expert” in their subject, the levelling effect and informality of online networking can be very challenging for them. As e-moderators they will probably have to work a little harder to establish their credentials as experienced professionals in the online environment as opposed to in a face-to-face group. Even those recruits who are used to developing distance learning materials need to explore how online materials can underpin and extend their teaching. It follows that e-moderators will also need to develop good working relationships with librarians, who are rapidly transforming themselves into Information and Communication Technology (ICT) resource providers.

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